ISTANBUL, Turkey - Syria's Western-backed National Coalition opposition group welcomed airstrikes by the United States and Gulf Arab allies on ISIS strongholds in Syria on Tuesday, saying they would strengthen its struggle against President Bashar Assad. Targets included Raqqa city in eastern Syria, which is an ISIS stronghold. "This will make us stronger in the fight against Assad... The campaign should continue until the Islamic State is completely eradicated from Syrian lands," Monzer Akbik, special envoy to the president of the coalition, told Reuters. "We will help the Syrian people and their fight against terrorism and hopefully these lands will be liberated and our democratic aims reached."
A significant part of President Barack Obama's strategy against ISIS depends on bolstering Syria's moderate rebels to strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to the extremists. Syria's moderate rebels have found themselves fighting both ISIS and Syrian government forces.